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The Citizen

Q&A with KSSG President Jieun Baek

Q: Where are you from?

A: Northridge, California. We’re famous for the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. That’s when I got my big scar on my forehead. I was 6 years old, and a bookshelf fell on me, and I got 39 stiches that morning. I was a very popular girl in school for a few weeks after the earthquake because I would secretly take off my bandage and show off my crazy scar to my fellow classmates. Growing up, I heard all the jokes about Harry Potter (or Harriet Potter), so don’t even try. I’ve heard them all.


Q: What did you do before Harvard?

A: Before HKS, I worked at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California.


Q: What do you do for fun?

A: Ooh, so many things! I love watching Friends reruns (my roommate Valerie Tann and I each have the entire Friends DVD set), candidatestraveling, yoga, salsa dancing, running (though I’m not good – am always looking for a running buddy!), learning about coffee, and most importantly, hanging out with my close friends. I love playing piano and listening to all sorts of music. I love going to the symphony and concerts. Love checking out new cafes, bars, and restaurants. Like trying funky ice cream flavors. I would like to learn how to bake.


Q: Why did you decide to go to HKS?

A: I’ve always wanted to attend since my freshman year. It’s truly a unique place to learn about things that matter to me in a multidimensional approach with some of the most interesting people on Earth.


Q: What is your favorite/least favorite part of HKS?

A: Favorite part of HKS: The lottery system (just kidding)! I really, really love just how interesting every single person is at HKS. I also love the HKS treks.

Least favorite things: That bottleneck at the top of the Littauer stairway that leads to the café. I tried to think of a platform item to propose a solution to this phenomenon, but alas, I wasn’t creative enough. If anyone has any ideas, please shoot me a note.


Q: What is one that most people don’t know about you?

A: I almost couldn’t graduate from high school because I didn’t have enough P.E. (Physical Education) credits. I had to scramble and convince the girls’ basketball coach to please let me be in her class so that I could graduate. She let me be her teaching assistant (a.k.a. make coffee and grade her students’ homework about health) and I was able to graduate. Thank you, Coach Hogan!


I’m an awful cook. One time in college, I tried to make cookies for someone, and bought “bake-and-break” cookie dough. I mean, how hard could it be? Well, I ended up leaving them in the oven for over 45 minutes and set off the fire alarm in my dorm. Someone, please help me!


Q: What is your top goal for your time as student body president?

A: My main goal is to strengthen our student body by creating opportunities for students to reach across program and cohort divisions. We have one of the most diverse student bodies, and it’s such a shame that the HKS community becomes so “silo”-ed after each program’s orientation week. Maggie and I have thought of an array of both small and large scale programs that will facilitate introductions among students that probably would not happen otherwise. It’s going to be a great year.


Q: What do you want students to know about the upcoming year/student government?

A: We want to be a very accessible, engaged and transparent student government. One small way that I want to achieve this is to be in the HKS forum from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday so that anyone can swing by and ask questions, share ideas, etc. The main job for KSSG is for students to serve fellow students, and we won’t be able to do our job well unless our colleagues know exactly where to find us.